During an appearance on Meet The Press Sunday morning, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) repeatedly dodged host David Gregory’s questions on whether or not he would be willing to accept increases on the wealthiest Americans’ tax rates in a deal to prevent the nation from going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
Instead, Corker referred to his own recently-proposed plan to raise revenue through closing tax loopholes. When pressed by Gregory on whether this would be the only revenue source that he would consider in a deal, he replied that revenues through capping deductions and eliminating loopholes would be a more “pro-growth” approach, but conspicuously did not rule out a rate hike on wealthier Americans’ marginal tax rates:
CORKER: Look, Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell both have put revenues on the table.
DAVID GREGORY (HOST): Let’s just understand. Everybody in Washington says revenues. There’s increasing your tax rates and there’s finding other ways to raise tax revenue. And the distinction is important, because what republicans object to is raising your tax rates — Your actual marginal tax rates. That’s the distinction that you have to answer, right?
CORKER: Well, you can get there two ways. One of the ways is the way I proposed, which is closing loopholes. That’s a pro-growth way of getting more revenues from wealthy Americans. And I think, David, before this is all over with, there’s lots of machinations. There’s capital gains, dividends. And I think cooler heads will prevail. And I think we will resolve this. And that’s the very best thing we can do to get our economy going.
Republicans have been generally vague in outlining an acceptable compromise on Americans’ tax rates.
But an increasing number of GOP lawmakers have been backing away from absolutist dogma on increasing the wealthiest Americans’ tax rates in a deal with President Obama. Recently, prominent GOP senators such as Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) have signaled that they are open to increasing taxes in order to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
Last week, Corker also backed away from anti-tax purist Grover Norquist’s pledge to not raise taxes under any circumstances, asserting, “I am not obligated on the pledge.”